Our next piece is named after Alyssa Demers who is 25 years old and is a Junior High/High School Teacher. Alyssa deals with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Depression, and Anxiety. Alyssa explained that she has always been an anxious person, since she was young. She had attachment trauma and issues due to immediate family with mental illness, and also a bad roll of the dice in terms of mental illness genetics. She suffered a lot from generalized anxiety, she developed a stutter that she still deals with to this day. She didn’t have a ton of self worth as a kid, and never thought of herself as anything great. She turned into a big people pleaser, never spoke her mind, and always adapted to others needs and personalities. Furthermore, she also struggled with body image issues due to society, and immediate family struggling with their weight and projecting their fatphobia onto her. She started forms of self harm around that time in relation to the body image issues that flared up when she was feeling minimized, or not seen or heard. Into her adolescence she began to partake in activities that didn’t serve her, such as drinking, partying, and drugs; she put herself in dangerous situations, and began to develop unhealthy habits around friendships and relationships. She yearned to be popular; she began to lie to people and that became easier and easier. This was all around the time her parents split up. Overall, she felt like she was trying to compensate for feeling like she was enough-never cool enough, never interesting enough, never attractive enough. She started a new High School in 2010. High school was an improvement she met amazing people, and decide that she was worthy enough just being herself. She met teachers that made her feel valued and worth it (which resulted, she thinks, in her decision to be a teacher). Alyssa met her first serious boyfriend when she was 15, she felt amazing and remembered being very carefree, and happy back then. The relationship lasted from 2010-2015, she felt that the relationship was a big part of her identity as a person. Late January of 2015 she had what she would describe as a mental breakdown. This is where she believes that for the first time her OCD symptoms showed up, but for years up until recently, she always thought it was anxiety. She developed feelings for a male classmate in a University class that triggered deep feelings of shame and guilt. She began to struggle with being in spaces with this individual and class became a source of anxiety for her. It eventually faded but it began to become increasingly anxious about her relationship and felt like it was slipping away from her. She began to lose control of her mental health she had deep, intrusive thoughts that were always present. She lost a lot of weight and a lot of hair. She was petrified about losing her relationship to this thing that had taken host and swallowing her up. As stated earlier her relationship ended when she was 19, her mind shifted to a place of survival and realized she could not live like this anymore. Her anxiety centred around her relationship so she had to cut it out of the equation. Her early 20’s were a lot and she was mentally ill. She was in University and working 2 jobs. She went through a lot, her drinking became bad again, and she was sexually assaulted multiple times. She explained throughout everything she just felt very alone. She felt broken, she had this unexplainable, uncontrollable thing that was plaguing her. In 2018 she met her current boyfriend Ryan although things were going good initially she felt her self slipping away again and her mind sabotaging her. She had another breakdown and was terrified. It would have been easy for her to jump ship, but she made the decision to stay and fight for their relationship. It has been over 2 years of ups and downs with her mental health but her boyfriend is incredibly understanding, and it is the first time in her life where she feels like she did not have to hide herself or anything that she is experiencing. Alyssa also explained that she was treated for anxiety in therapy for years, and never felt like it was making a substantial impact. She would talk about the same things over and over, everything that they suggested felt like temporary relief. When she got her OCD diagnosis in August 2020, she believes it saved her life. She realized that she was dealing with a cycle of triggers, intrusive thoughts/obessions, and compulsions, based mostly around romantic relationships and her identity. She received answers that she had been asking since she was 19. After receiving her OCD diagnosis, she felt alive again. She feels hope. She feels like she is going to be okay.
When asked what advice Alyssa would give to someone who was dealing with the same mental illness as her she explained that it is important to reach out to people, that either have your mental illness, or just are mentally ill. She has gotten a lot of amazing support from friends and family that understand. Just know that as isolating as it may feel, you aren’t alone. And there is a community that loves and supports you. It’s hard for her to be vulnerable, but lately she has been sharing her story to friends and people that are also struggling. It gives her purpose to know she is a safe place for people to get support, and she is happy to do that for anyone.
Our hoodies have been a staple at Afflatus Hijab. The new color that is being revealed is our spring green with hints of forest. We love the color as it reminds us of spring. This hoodie is long and has the drop seam hem on the sleeve, which allows for extra room. The model is wearing a size small. This fabric is made out cotton fleece.
Small: Chest: 44" Length: 39"
Medium: Chest: 48" Length: 39"
Large: Chest: 52" Length: 40"
Extra Large: Chest: 56" Length: 40"